As part of Digital Catapults IoT Innovation programme, we recently attended a workshop on the costs, stages and challenges of producing and manufacturing IoT Prototypes and LoRaWAN devices. We had some great speakers including Michael Setton (IoT Technologist), and Richard Marshall of Xitex Ltd.
I’m particularly interested in any conversations around LoRaWAN IoT Prototyping because my previous view is that there’s no middle-ground for companies wanting to build IoT. There seems to be a huge number of very clever DIY’ers (the term “hobbyists” doesn’t do them justice) who are working on home projects and ideas, and then there are the companies which are spending £10,000 to £100,000’s to develop LoRaWAN solutions for their commercial projects. There doesn’t seem to be anyone providing cost-effective IoT solutions, one-up from DIY, but significantly cheaper than £10,000.
Richard and Michael offered some different perspectives. Richard was right to point out that there are a huge number of challenges in taking a product to market, from initial design, layout, testing, validation, manufacturing, safety testing, certification, production line configuration, component availability e.t.c It makes you appreciate how important it is to find the right manufacturing partner and adviser to help with taking new products to market. Michael presented ideas on the prototype stage, including companies like https://thingtype.com that help non-techs to build LoRaWAN designs, and www.macrofab.com who offer small-scale production at an affordable price. Both are good options, and both would be valuable advisers for IoT projects.
But, there is an easier way to design IoT Solutions for your project.
If you think about it, most IoT projects require the same core hardware: A processor, LoRaWAN chip, battery, and one or more of the 6 main sensors: Temperature, GPS Tracker, PIR, reed-switch, digital or analog connections, and you need an enclosure to put it all in. You can build this from scratch, using Arduino boards, or pay someone a lot of money to build a bespoke device, OR you can buy an off-the-shelf prototype ready working for under £100.
We’re proud to be an International Sales Agent for Zane Systems Kft, a LoRaWAN manufacturing team in Hungary. Zane Systems have already done the hard work for you. They have ready-made IoT LoRaWAN solutions that include the 6 key sensors. They’ve matured the firmware, tested the devices and know them to be reliable and effective. So how does this help you?
It’s easy. We sell basic prototypes that allow you to first test your idea in the field, or cupboard, or office or fridge to see how LoRaWAN works for your project. Based on the results of your pilot, you’ll have a better idea of what you need, and that allows us to help you define the final requirement. Whether you need bespoke enclosures (branded with your company name), IP65 protection, several sensors on one board, 1 year or 10-year battery life, or different firmware. We’ll take these ideas and give you a cost. The good news is that your requirements won’t be substantially different from our existing PCBs and components, which means it’s not hugely expensive to create bespoke solutions. Based on experience to date, we think you’ll find us to be an affordable, reliable and professional solution for your IoT project.
IoT should be affordable, and we believe our partnership with Zane make’s this a reality.
Contact us at [email protected] to discuss your project.